Closing Note: Crazy Harry’s Is the Latest L.A. Bar to Fall Victim to the Coronavirus Pandemic
Los Angeles is certainly a resilient city, but even a town as strong and proud as the City of Angels isn’t immune to the difficulties that the coronavirus pandemic has wrought.
Despite fighting for survival, Crazy Harry’s Bar has become the latest beer bar to close.
The Winnetka stalwart, known for having “no crap on tap,” made their closure announcement via Facebook on July 23, describing their feelings on the social media post as “devastated.” They cited “restrictions imposed by the State of California” as the reason they could no longer sustain the business.
“Over the years we’ve shared so many memories, beers, moments and we can never say thank you enough,” the official message on Crazy Harry’s Facebook page read.
Owner Christopher “Z” Zaferis will be at the bar on July 25 and 26 so regulars can pick up their mugs, and he will also be providing fills and to-go cans so he can sell what is still left at the bar. The post also stated that many of the beloved items on their walls will also be for sale.
“We will not be up at the bar or keeping things in there much after this weekend as we have to be out by the end of the month,” the post concluded. “We are so sorry, we did all that we could.”
Three hours later, Z posted a longer, personal message to the bar’s Facebook page, writing that “everything happens for a reason” and that he has spent time with the Department of Public Health and the ABC among other government agencies but has “exhausted everything at this point.”
“You know I’m always scheming and am going to put focus on another project, honestly outside of Los Angeles because of how the City and County have handled this entire situation, I will be happy to see whoever comes by this weekend but I need to get the place emptied out. There is not a date in site [sp] so taking loans and what not is not something I am going to consider,” Z wrote, noting that he was “OK.” “Thank you to everyone who supported, came by and for all of the amazing memories. It is something that is going to take a long time to get over. I am not ignoring people, I am trying to send thanks back but am just trying to work through all of this as this is not an easy decision and something I’ve had to consider for some time now.”
The restaurateur — who founded the blog Order of the Taco and is opening a new eatery in Grover Beach, California — concluded his post by saying he will be taking a social media hiatus in order “to digest” his decision and asked people to please continue to support small, local businesses. “…We all need the support, this is just one small place, there are many others that are facing the same decision that we had to make,” he said.
Opened in 2011, Crazy Harry’s Bar helped bring craft beer to the forefront in Los Angeles. They were ranked the top beer bar in California by craftbeer.com in both 2018 and 2019. Earlier this week, Z celebrated his fifth year of owning Crazy Harry’s, having taken over the particle board-lined spot from Harry J. Friedman in 2015. Rare beer and cask ale nights were features of the casual joint, and the annual Oktoberfest was one of the most popular beer parties in the West Valley.
Crazy Harry’s isn’t the only local beer spot to fold or falter over the past few months. Earlier this year, Modern Times furloughed staff at their downtown Los Angeles location, as well as in Santa Barbara, San Diego, and Encinitas. Sanctum Brewing Company, the first brewery to open in Ponoma, was the first Los Angeles County brewery to close its doors amid the coronavirus pandemic, shuttering in early May. Meanwhile, both El Segundo Brewing Company and Three Weavers Brewing Company have had to temporarily close out of precaution due to staff were exposed to people who tested positive to COVID-19.